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Monday, 15 December 2014 21:36

New life emerging

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planting hands 150My take on religious life, after living it for over 45 years, is so different from those early days where I was one of many, doing what many did, writes Sister Marie McAlister rsj.

After living a consecrated life for over 45 years and being asked to write what it means for me led me down many different paths. On reflection I just had to look at my day: what it looks like and how I remain true to that commitment made many years ago.

My take on it now is so different from those early days of Religious Life where I was one of many, doing what many did!

When I said yes to God I had no idea where it would lead me. I knew I wanted to serve God in some way. The journey of discovery through the changing stages of my spirituality, my ministries and my living the everyday believing that I am where I am meant to be, has held me through good and not so good times.

Wandering around the Community Garden recently I saw new life emerging. Some vegetables were ready to be picked, some not quite, some having fed the birds (not in the plan!) Then taking the produce to those around who needed it, I thought of the fruit of our actions is the gift of Consecrated Life lived joyfully .

Our people today, more than ever, need to see religious, living life to the full and with a smile on their faces. We are so involved in the lives of so many people who are struggling with many issues. Each day has to be faced with the knowledge that our strength lies in our commitment to Jesus Christ and what he has asked of us, not only of us but all those who profess to follow Him.

We can look at the Consecrated Life as a life apart, but it is not. It is a living and moving state where we find ourselves mixed up in the mess of life and often ‘smelling like sheep’, because there is no time to ‘freshen up’.
My daily morning meditation is where I try and let go of all that I possess and thus trust that my God has me and my day under control: that is the platform from which I emerge. Being able to live in the present moment for me has been and is a lifelong challenge.

I guess my philosophy as I grow older, is to try and live in that present moment, being aware of and responding to what is happening NOW. So much better if I can respond with a love and joy that fulfils the Gospel imperative, "love one another as I have loved you" as well and furthering the reign of God in a world that is hungering for a look of compassion and the peace that only our God can give.

As I recommit myself to my life as a religious during this Year of the Consecrated Life, I pray that I can BE more and perhaps DO less so I can be more present to those on the margins who seek to be heard with a compassionate heart.

This article by Sr Marie McAlister rsj originally entitled "The Year of Consecrated Life: New Life Emerging" was first published in the 08 December 2014 issue of Mary MacKillop e-news, a publication of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart.